Placer County steps up Transient Occupancy Tax audit and compliance efforts

Published on January 19, 2017

Airbnb, Vacation Rentals By Owner, inns or hotels. If you provide lodging in Placer County, you’re required to collect Transient Occupancy Tax from your guests. In an effort to ensure compliance with its TOT ordinance, the county is launching an initiative this month to ensure lodging operators are registered with the county and following the rules for TOT collection and remittance.

The goal of this initiative is to identify and notify non-compliant lodging providers of the county’s TOT ordinance requirements, ensure compliance and extend assistance in completing the registration process. In addition, inspections of existing operators’ records will be conducted on a more frequent basis, including field inspections and desk audits.

In October, the county contracted with Host Compliance to assist with its effort in identifying, in real-time, internet-based rental companies operating out of compliance in the unincorporated areas of Placer County. Services provided under the contract include trend monitoring, address identification, compliance monitoring and rental activity monitoring.

Last June, the county also initiated a contact with MuniServices to assist with conducting more frequent inspections of records, ensuring lodging providers are complying with the requirements.

“I’m encouraged to see the county stepping up its efforts to work with our hotel and rental property community to help ensure everyone is following the rules,” said Placer County Administrative Services Director Jerry Gamez. “TOT is an important source of funding to balance the costs and benefits of tourism and is essential to the preservation of our community and quality of life."

Registered lodging operators will receive letters in the coming weeks alerting them of these new initiatives, with several of them planned to be selected for a review of their TOT collection records. Property managers will be asked to provide a list of their properties being leased as short-term or vacation rentals for a future compliance review.

Taxes paid by visitors help fund services benefitting the entire county including public infrastructure projects and tourism marketing and promotion, but are also used for public safety, transportation, libraries, parks and historical and environmental preservation projects. TOT must be collected not just by traditional lodging providers like hotels but also by those who provide lodging through internet-based services.